Delegate Terry Walker (D- Jefferson), along with his colleagues of the West Virginia Legislature, voted “yes” on Saturday to complete legislative action on a bill that will re-appropriate funds to benefit state horsemen.
Senate Bill 337 will make changes in the way horse owners are compensated when they win races at West Virginia’s thoroughbred racetracks. Currently, the Legislature has a fund set up called the 10-10-10 Fund. It’s name reflects the way the money is distributed – 10 percent to the horse owner, 10 percent to the breeders, and 10 percent to the stallion that sired the horse. In its most basic sense, the Fund provides extra money to West Virginia horsemen when they win any non-restricted races on either of the state’s two racetracks.
Currently the 10-10-10 Fund has $1.5 million, but the horsemen are owed $4 million. This bill will reallocate money from the Racetrack Video Lottery Fund to the 10-10-10 Fund in order to pay off the debt.
“Due to the economy and some reallocation choices that the legislature has made in the past, the money owed from the 10-10-10 Fund has grown to be too great,” Delegate Terry Walker said. “It is important that we get this sorted out because the benefit will reach far beyond those immediately connected to the racing industry.”
The excess money in video lottery revenue for this fiscal year – $2.5 million – will be added to the current $1.5 million in the 10-10-10 Fund to pay off past and current claims.
Delegate Walker explained the extra funds would create a positive “trickle-down” result. The money would be paid to those in connection with the winning horse, but the horse-racing industry creates and maintains many related jobs.
“The horse owners buy feed, pick-up trucks, farm machinery, purchase fuel, use veterinary services, patronize local business, and generally contribute to the economy of the Eastern Panhandle,” he said. “This bill will stabilize the funds needed to keep these jobs secure.”
Delegate Walker and his colleagues have been working on this bill since the beginning of the 60-day session and he said they were all happy to see it sent to the Governor for his signature.
“It was nice to see something I’ve worked so hard for be completed,” Delegate Walker said. “I’m still learning the processes of the legislature, but I think this is an impressive first step for me. I’m glad it could be something beneficial for my district and the entire state.”